“how to find the best cheap products” — kiplinger
In this review:
  1. Best Cheap High Chairs
  2. High Chair Reviews
  3. Portable High Chairs
  4. High Chair Seats, Trays, and Restraints
  5. Discount High Chairs Features Comparison Table

Cheap High Chairs Buying Guide

New parents quickly learn that they only have about a month or two before they'll be scouting for a cheap high chair. The market is saturated with a vast assortment of budget options produced by the usual players in the baby gear market, including Graco, Fisher-Price, Safety 1st, Cosco, and Evenflo.

We selected our top picks based on value, performance, and features.

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In the best cheap high chairs bucket we put the Graco SimpleSwitch (starting at $70) for its two-seats-for-the-price-of-one design (high chair becomes feeding chair) and parental seal of approval, and the Fisher-Price EZ Clean (starting at $77) due to its parent-friendly cleaning and storage attributes. The second-best cheap high chairs on our list are the Graco Meal Time (starting at $77) with its convenient fold-up design and favorable parent feedback and the Fisher-Price SpaceSaver Feeding Chair (starting at $50) for its efficient no-legs design and secondary purpose as a backless booster. We're also keen on the Cosco Flat Fold (starting at $29) with its no-frills simplicity, portability, and super cheap price, but didn't add it to the list because it seems to be near the end of its run. (Act now if this model meets your needs.) The Badger Basket Embassy Wood High Chair (starting at $82), a stylish wooden high chair that isn't all that user-friendly and sits just at the edge of our price range, fails to get our vote.

All high chairs serve a similar purpose but vary in terms of visual appeal and functionality. Some are traditional stand-alone models, some conveniently fold for storage and portability, and some dispense with the legs and sit strapped atop a regular chair, and one on our list converts from a high chair to a feeding chair. Although a well-designed and well-built high chair with price tags in the triple-digit range might become a family heirloom, you can easily get by without spending more than $85. Remember, children typically sit in a high chair for a maximum three years (or until they weigh 40 to 50 pounds), so cheap high chairs that are sturdy and safe, with portability an extra bonus, are adequate to the feeding tasks at hand.

As you start shopping you'll definitely notice differences between cheap and pricey models. Entry-level high chairs are usually made with a metal frame and a soft, cloth-covered plastic seat. They won't win awards for aesthetics, but they're functional (most have adjustable seats suitable for infant and toddler feeding and removable trays and/or insert; some have wheels), easy to assemble, and relatively durable. Upmarket high chairs generally feature more contemporary design (see, for example, the angled wood of the Stokke Tripp Trapp, which starts at $250, or the cocoon-like Bloom Fresco Chrome, which starts at $449), serve multiple purposes as the child grows (a base that converts to a play table, for example, or a chair that can be rocked for sleeping and later transformed into a booster-like chair), and boast an assortment of frills (e.g., detachable battery-operated lights and toys).

Aesthetics and functionality aside, the most critical qualification for a high chair, cheap or otherwise, is a JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) certification. JPMA is a national trade organization for the prenatal-to-preschool industry that ensures a high chair produced by its members meets standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ATSM). What this means: High chairs should have no sharp edges and include easy-to-see warning labels, appropriate locking devices to prevent unintentional folding, and straps that can withstand a force test (i.e., an older child can't break or pull the straps out of the bolts). The high chair should also feature secure caps and plugs, break-resistant trays, and legs wide enough for stability but not wide enough as to cause others walking by to trip. We confirmed that all the best and good cheap high chairs on our list are JPMA-certified. By the way, experts say that more high chair-related injuries stem from improper use than from poor design, but always be on the lookout for product recalls. Other important features to note on a cheap high chair include the range of seat adjustments, the type of safety harness, and the weight capacity.

Basic budget high chairs can be found at the usual big box outlets or online. If you buy online, be prepared to assemble the chair yourself, which may or may not be a welcome chore. Experts suggest that before settling on a model, go to a store for a physical inspection: poke and prod, test the folding mechanism (if relevant), check out the tray, and look for sharp edges.

Review continues below

by Emily Lugg (Google+ Profile)

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Filed in: Baby, Children, Furniture,

Best Cheap High Chairs

Fisher-Price EZ Clean
Gold Medal

Fisher-Price EZ Clean

A seat cover with no crevices and coated straps make this high chair truly cleanup friendly. Add to that easy fold up, front wheels, three-position recline, and enthusiastic reviews, and the end result is a very appealing buy.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
Graco SimpleSwitch
Gold Medal

Graco SimpleSwitch

The two-in-one design -- traditional high chair converts to feeding chair/booster seat -- provides flexibility, portability, and value. Parents also appreciate the three recline positions, one-hand removable tray, and 3- and 5-point harness system.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »

Good Cheap High Chairs

Fisher-Price SpaceSaver Feeding Chair
Gold Medal

Fisher-Price SpaceSaver Feeding Chair

A hybrid highchair/booster with a cushy seat for infants, three-position recline, and three-height adjustments, the Fisher-Price Space Saver has no legs of its own and must be strapped to a sturdy chair. Parents like the easy storage and portability, as well as its versatility, although some complain of spills ruining the chair below.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
Graco Meal Time Folding High Chair
Gold Medal

Graco Meal Time Folding High Chair

This model is the most economical in a line of Graco high chairs, with a seat that reclines and moves up and down. Parents like the easy rolling/locking wheels and folding design for storage and transport.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
 

Don't Bother

Badger Basket High Chair

The wooden Badger Basket High Chair is a loose imitation of high-price and high-style Euro models, but draws complaints about poor wood quality and finish and a fixed tray that makes it hard to move a child in or out; this model is not designed for infants.

Read more »

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